Batesville Pioneers take to the football field after tragedy

Batesville Pioneers take to the football field after tragedy

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) - The Batesville Pioneers took to the field for the first time since the loss of two sophomore football players.

Camdon Osborn and Will Olson lost their lives in a car wreck Monday which also left four other players injured.

Friday night's game was a time to honor these players and bring the community together.

"The most important thing, we are going to honor these two men that have been taken from us," Coach Dave King said.

The night started with prayer and a video of Osborn and Olson, followed by senior night presentations.

Instead of running out before kickoff, the football team walked arm-in-arm while holding jerseys 64 for Osborn and 15 for Olson.

This was just one way the team has come together to remember their teammates.

"They are a band of brothers and they stick together and they have been doing that this week." Randy Seale with KZLE radio said. "They are rallying behind each other, telling stories, laughing, crying and as macho as those guys are, they are shedding tears because it hurts."

King said the team had not practiced all week.

"We tried to have practice one day and it quickly turned into stories about Cam and Will and football wasn't really important," King said. "It was just important for the kids to be down here and together."

King said this has been one of the hardest weeks for the families who lost loved ones, the community and, of course, the team.

"They are angry.  They're mad. They're sad. They cry one minute the next minute they are telling stories about Cam and Will and laughing," King said. "They grew up together. You know it is just very hard on them,. They're just kids."

Not only has the team supported each other, but the entire town of Batesville showed love and support.

"The outpouring of love and compassion for the families has been very inspiring," King said. "I knew Batesville was a great place but this just reinforces why we live here because we got some great people."

Main Street businesses took to decorating windows for the Pioneers and many showed support on Facebook with the Pioneer logo as a profile picture.

"We are right there for everybody, we are hugging them, taking them food, taking them to a movie, just hanging out with them," Seale said. "Everyone seems to be like family during times like this and that is what I love about Batesville."

Surrounding communities also showed their support this week. Many of the Pioneer conference opponents sent flower memorials to the school, which were displayed before the game.

Several teams also joined the Pioneers in adding a sticker to their helmets to show they stand with their football family during this hard time.

Greene County Tech even made a banner saying "Be strong and courageous, GCT is praying for you," which was held up before the Pioneers took the field.

The Pioneer football players stayed strong and tough throughout the whole game, winning 41 to 7.

"A Pioneer never quits. A Pioneer never quits. That is more than just words we speak," Seale said. "It is our philosophy. It is our motto and we hold true to that no matter what."

King said the team and community still have some healing to do, but they will get through it by sticking together.

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